NEW DELHI: Samajwadi Party lawmaker Naresh Agarwal had the government benches in the Rajya Sabha up in angry protest today when he referred to Hindu Gods in comments that have been expunged or removed from records. The Upper House of Parliament had to be adjourned amid loud protests.
Mr Agarwal has since expressed regret.
Since the comments have been expunged, they cannot be reported. The Samajwadi Party lawmaker was speaking in a fractious debate in the house on recent incidents of mob lynching and murders in the name of cow protection when he made the comments.
"He has linked each of the Hindu Gods with a brand of alcohol. If he would have made this statement outside Parliament, he would've been booked. Do you have the audacity of repeating this in relation to any other religious denomination? Would you do this?" said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, demanding an apology.
Mr Agarwal later said he had "not meant to hurt anyone."
Earlier in the debate, he alleged that people linked to the BJP were behind recent mob attacks by cow vigilantes, which was firmly rejected by Minister of State for Home affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir.
The minister drew protests from the opposition when he said states have all the powers to deal with such incidents and that there was no need to change existing laws. He said the home ministry has already issued an advisory to all states to immediately start registering FIRs in such cases and asked them to take action and arrest culprits. He also pointed out that the Prime Minister has spoken against killings in the name of cow protection which will not be tolerated.
Samajwadi Party members came to the Well or Centre of the house and raised slogans expressing dissatisfaction over the government's reply to questions on the steps taken by the Centre to stop the mob murders.